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Chinese Dumplings

February 2, 2009

After watching Kung Fu Panda yesterday, Hubby decided that he wanted to try Chinese dumplings, which neither of us had ever had, and he was even in the mood to help.  So I dutifully picked up the ingredients and we set up in our tiny kitchen to try our experiment.

Ingredients:

-Dough (makes approximately 50 wrappers)

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups hot water

-Filling

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 scallions (just the green part)
  • 1/2 cup caned bamboo shoots
  • 1 cup bok choy (Cook’s note: if you use bok choy or any other kind of cabbage, be sure to chop it in advance, salt it–about a tsp of kosher salt or 1/2 tsp of table salt per handful of cabbage–and allow to sit for 15 minutes, then twist the excess liquid out through cheesecloth)
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • for the slurry: 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl
  • water
  • cooking oil

-Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger or 1/8 teaspoon ground ginge

Directions:

  1. We start with the dough.  Whisk the flour with the salt and stir in the water until all the flour is incorporated. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead briefly.  The dough should be soft and pliable but not too sticky. Rest, covered with a kitchen towel, while you make the filling and the sauce.
  2. Moving on to the filling, into your food processor, add pork, bamboo, scallions, bok choy, ginger, soy sauce, kosher salt, corn starch and rice wine.  Pulse the mixture until well blended.  Carefully remove the blade and set mixture aside.
  3. Coming back to the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out until about 1/8 inch thick.  You’ll be cutting out 3 ” rounds (we used a juice glass).  You’ll want to cover these as you work as well so they don’t dry out.
  4. Mix the last tablespoon of corn starch with 1/4 cup of water to make the slurry.
  5. Now you’re ready to stuff the dumplings.  Take about a teaspoon of filling and place in the center of the wrapper.
  6. Brush the edges with the slurry then bring the two sides together at the top and pinch.  You might want to go watch this little YouTube video on how to properly pleat a Chinese dumpling.  I could try to write it out but I don’t think I’d manage.  So check out the video  and try the technique.  Make sure the edges are totally sealed.

  7. You might want to cover these as you work so they don’t dry out while you make the whole batch.
  8. After you have them shaped, if you don’t need all of them at once, you can freeze them for up to 2 weeks.  Allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge if you do this.
  9. When you’re ready to cook them, heat a large nonstick pan with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high heat.
  10. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the dumplings, flat side down, not touching, to the pan. Let fry for 1 minute until the bottoms are light golden brown.
  11. Pour 1/4 cup of water into the pan and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid. Turn heat to medium and let the dumplings steam for 3 minutes.
  12. Open lid and let the remaining liquid cook off about 1 minute.
  13. Cut into a dumpling to make sure that the filling is cooked through.
  14. Remove to plate, wipe the pan clean with paper towels (or wash) and repeat with remaining dumplings.  We kept ours in the oven on warm between batches.
  15. Mix sauce ingredients well and serve on the side as a dipping sauce.

These were amazing.  We were hoping they would be as they were so labor intensive.  I think the process would go more smoothly in the future now that we know what we’re doing.  It was also hampered by the fact that I was making a vegetable lo mein (same as my beef lo mein but without beef and with added bamboo, water chestnuts, and bok choy) as a side and trying to juggle the two was kind of difficult.  My suggestion is to make the dumplings first and leave them on warm in the oven.  They’ll keep just fine while you make the noodles fresh at the end.  They only take about 10 minutes.

Nutrition: This shakes out to about 68 calories and 2.25 grams of fat per dumpling (assuming you made 50 dumplings).  If you were to trade out regular ground turkey (not the lean) it works out to 63.4 calories and 1.92 grams of fat.  If you use the lean ground turkey (the stuff that’s only breast meat), it works out to 56.2 calories and 1.2 grams of fat per dumpling.  Personally, I don’t think there’s enough of a savings to bother with regular turkey, but certainly there’s considerable savings with the lean ground turkey.

Printable version.

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